Ignoring Kashmir

Ignoring Kashmir

The same scene plays out with depressing familiarity. India launches yet another brutal crackdown on those who oppose its occupation of Kashmir, killing and injuring many. The rest of the world shrugs. Pakistan tries to raise the issue at international forums but India deflects attention by claiming the matter is an internal one. At a UN General Assembly session on Friday, Pakistan’s press minister at the Pakistani Mission to the UN gave a speech in which he called for the UN’s Department of Public Information to bring attention to the human rights abuses of the Rohingya, Palestinians and Kashmiris. India immediately objected, saying this was beyond the remit of the body, and changed the subject to terrorism. This has long been India’s tactic for evading responsibility for its brutal occupation and violation of human rights. Much as the Myanmar government does with the Rohingya and Israel with the Palestinians, India tries to discredit resistance to its human rights abuses by portraying the liberation movement as being made up of terrorists. Then, to hide the fact that it is entirely home grown, it claims these supposed terrorists are being directed by Pakistan.

By now it should come as no surprise that much of the international community would prefer to avert its gaze from what’s happening in Kashmir. As Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir pointed out at a recent conference in Islamabad, the international community is more interested in selling arms to India than taking action against its human rights abuses. More than that, it is India’s emergence as an economic powerhouse that has the rest of the world salivating at the prospect of doing business with the country.

At this point, India isn’t hiding the nature of its occupation. It regularly blinds children with rubber bullets and responds to mere stone-throwing – one of the only forms of resistance left for the long-suffering Kashmiri people – with live fire. Just this week, the BJP government rejected the idea mooted by an all-parties conference to observe a ceasefire in Kashmir during Ramazan. This is something the BJP previously used to support; the party had agreed to a ceasefire in 2000 under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But the government of Narendra Modi has taken extreme positions and will not even consider the possibility of curbing its violence for the holy month. With India showing it has no appetite for peace, it becomes the responsibility of others to take action. That is a duty the international community has abdicated so far.